Character and Personality Types

Character and Personality Types

Character and Personality Types

Character and Personality Types

Synopsis

It is very difficult for the student or practitioner to find their way through the jungle of different personality typographies that has sprung up in the field of psychotherapy; and even harder for them to find a point of sufficient height above the forest canopy to get their bearings in order to compare one system with another. This volume offers such an observation point together with some possible mappings. It surveys how different schools of therapy approach a basic topic, the differences that exist between people - including their attitudes, feelings, concerns and talents. It examines different systematic and non-systematic approaches to identifying different types of human being, exploring whether there are systematic ways in which humans vary, how we can assess the merit of different typologies, and whether personality typing is a helpful approach to therapy.

Character and Personality Types looks in detail at the arguments for and against the use of typologies of character and personality as a clinical tool; and offers general criteria for judging the merits of particular personality systems, as well as exploring the possibility of a wider synthesis.

Excerpt

A major aspect of intellectual and cultural life in the twentieth century has been the study of psychology – present, of course, for many centuries in practical form and expression in the wisdom and insight to be found in spirituality, in literature and in the dramatic arts, as well as in arts of healing and guidance, both in the East and West. In parallel with the deepening interest in the inner processes of character and relationships in the novel and theatre in the nineteenth century, psychiatry reformulated its understanding of the human mind, and encouraged, in those brave enough to challenge the myths of mental illness, new methods of exploration of psychological processes.

The second half of the twentieth century in particular witnessed an explosion of interest both in theories about personality, psychological development, cognition and behaviour, as well as in the practice of therapy or, perhaps more accurately, the therapies. It also saw, as is common in any intellectual discipline, battles between theories and therapists of different persuasions, particularly between psychoanalysis and behavioural psychology, and each in turn with humanistic and transpersonal therapies, as well as within the major schools themselves. Such arguments are not surprising, and indeed objectively can be seen as healthy – potentially promoting greater precision in research, alternative approaches to apparently intractable problems, and deeper understanding of the wellsprings of human thought, emotion and behaviour. It is nonetheless disturbing that, for many decades, there was such a degree of sniping and entrenchment of positions from therapists who should have been able to look more closely at their own responses and rivalries. It is as if diplomats . . .

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